The 19-year-old Iraq international, who recently penned a new deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least June 2025, has reportedly impressed new manager Erik ten Hag.
In fact, Ten Hag – a man with an impressive track record of giving academy players their time to shine – believes United should have given Iqbal more first-team opportunities in the past.
🤩 Man of the match performance from Zidane Iqbal today vs Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/DWg9ruEuGd— Iraq Xtra (@IraqXtra) July 12, 2022
The teenager came on as a substitute in last year's 1-1 draw with Young Boys in the Champions League but ultimately, he has yet to be given a chance in the first-team – something that could change in the coming months.
After going 3-0 ahead in the first-half thanks to goals from Jadon Sancho, Fred and Anthony Martial, new boss Ten Hag decided to give Iqbal a chance to shine against some of the world's best.
Coming up against the likes of Thiago, Fabinho and Naby Keita would be a daunting task for any seasoned pro, but the 19-year-old embraced the challenge and took it all in his stride.
As you can see from the footage above, Iqbal likes to drop deep and dictate the tempo of the game. He isn't afraid to show for the ball, highlighting confidence in his own ability.
The midfielder's awareness of space also helped him spot Liverpool's high press. Take the below clip, for example.
Fabinho decides to close him down in the centre but instead of panicking with a back pass to David de Gea, a composed Iqbal carries it before wrong-footing the Brazilian with a great piece of skill.
Fabinho tried to Press Zidane Iqbal only to be sent to the Barber Shop 😭pic.twitter.com/RKEOyQI6kW— UTD JOLLOF 🐐 (@UTDJolloF) July 12, 2022
Zidane Iqbal showing for the ball, dropping deep and making himself available.— Charlie (@ThreadmanChaza) July 12, 2022
Always wanted to be involved, was impressed by his performance.
He had the technical ability and the application to match, very promising. pic.twitter.com/DrHoTBAgYo
Zidane Iqbal, a 19 year old has made himself more avaliable in recieving the ball in 8 mins than McTominay did in the entire first half— Ace🥤 (@speeds_c) July 12, 2022
Iqbal the first United midfielder I've seen in a LONG time who can turn on the ball😭😭😭😭— Paritosh Bhide (@paritosh_bhide) July 12, 2022
Iqbal, who joined Manchester United's academy set-up at the age of nine, will be enthusiastic about his chances at Old Trafford following the arrival of Erik ten Hag.
Earlier this month, the Dutchman opened the door to United's youngsters breaking into his senior squad but warned it will be no easy task.
“What I want to see is that they learn but also they show themselves because they have to deserve a position in top football," he said.
"You have to deserve your position. It means you have to deliver every day, that demands a certain style, a certain way of life that they have to adapt to, that they probably don’t know yet.
"But I am really looking forward to seeing if they can do it. I hope one or two, they can prove themselves and they come into the squad but, if they want to enter the dressing room, they have to deserve it.”
Featured Image Credit: MUTV
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